26 Songs about Mental Health (and 10 Ways They Can Help You)

Published By Justin Baksh, LMHC, MCAP
August 14, 2023


Music has long been a way for artists to express their emotions, struggles, and experiences, including those related to mental health. There are numerous songs that delve into issues like depression, anxiety, isolation, suicide and other mental health topics. Some of these songs have resonated deeply with audiences and become particularly well-loved.

Songs about mental health can offer several types of support and understanding for those dealing with their own mental health struggles.

Benefits of Mental Health Songs

Music can be therapeutic and beneficial in several ways:

10 Ways Music Benefits Mental Health

  • Validation and Understanding: When someone hears a song that reflects their feelings or experiences, it can be immensely validating. It reminds them they are not alone, that others have felt the same way.
  • Expression of Emotions: Sometimes, people find it hard to articulate or understand their feelings. A song can help put words or melodies to those complex emotions, providing an avenue for understanding and catharsis.
  • Creating a Safe Space: Listening to music is a private experience. This privacy can provide a safe space for listeners to confront and process their emotions without judgment.
  • Promotes Open Discussion: Popular songs addressing mental health can lead to broader societal conversations about these issues, thus reducing stigma and promoting understanding.
  • Distraction and Comfort: During challenging times, music can serve as a temporary escape, allowing the listener to focus on the melody, lyrics, or rhythm instead of their distress.
  • Cathartic Experience: For some, certain songs can trigger a release of emotions. Crying or even just feeling deeply can be a cathartic experience, leading to a sense of relief.
  • Guidance and Hope: Many songs about mental health not only discuss the struggle but also offer messages of hope and resilience, which can be uplifting for listeners.
  • Therapeutic Use: Music therapy is a recognized therapeutic approach wherein music is used to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs. While listening to songs about mental health isn’t the same as formal music therapy, it can have therapeutic effects for many.
  • Facilitates Connection: Sharing music that speaks to one’s mental health experience can help friends and family better understand and empathize with what a person is going through.
  • Enhances Self-awareness: Reflecting on the lyrics or the emotions that a song evokes can lead to increased self-awareness, which is an essential step in the healing process.

26 Well-Loved Songs About Mental Health

Songs from various eras and genres have touched upon the topic of mental health. Linkin Park, in particular, is known for their raw and emotive lyrics that many listeners find relatable in terms of mental and emotional struggles.

Here’s a list of some of the most recognized and cherished songs that address mental health:

26 Songs About Mental Health

1. “Vincent” by Don McLean – This song delves into the mind of Vincent Van Gogh, who is believed to have suffered from severe mental health issues.

2. “Adam’s Song” by Blink-182 – This track talks about depression and feelings of isolation. Although Adam (the character in the song) contemplates and seems to succumb to suicidal thoughts, the final verse of the song has him reconsidering, and deciding life is worth living.

3. “Manic Depression” by Jimi Hendrix – A raw portrayal of the ups and downs of bipolar disorder.

4. “Hold On” by Wilson Phillips – An uplifting song about pushing through tough times. This song was written by Chyna Phillips during a dark time in her life, when she was battling substance abuse.

5. “1-800-273-8255” by Logic ft. Alessia Cara & Khalid – Named after the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, this song discusses the struggles with suicidal thoughts.

6. “Breathe Me” by Sia – Capturing feelings of vulnerability and the longing for support in depression.

7. “Everybody Hurts” by R.E.M. – A song to remind those in despair that they’re not alone.

8. “The Sound of Silence” by Simon & Garfunkel – Touching on feelings of alienation and isolation.

9. “Basket Case” by Green Day – Discussing the anxieties and paranoia of the songwriter.

10. “Hurt” by Nine Inch Nails (also covered in 2002 by Johnny Cash) – Deals with deep pain, depression, and self-harm.

11. “Unwell” by Matchbox Twenty – About dealing with internal struggles and feeling not quite right.

12. “Breakeven” by The Script – Addresses emotional pain and heartbreak.

13. “Girl from the North Country” by Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash – A song that touches on sorrow and possibly depression.

14. “Pain” by Three Days Grace – About coping with inner pain and turmoil.

15. “Heavy” by Linkin Park ft. Kiiara – A modern take on the weight of mental health struggles.

16. “Behind Blue Eyes” by The Who – This song speaks to the feelings of loneliness and the masks people wear to hide their pain.

17. “Comfortably Numb” by Pink Floyd – A song often interpreted as describing feelings of alienation, numbness, and disconnection from reality.

18. “Paint It Black” by The Rolling Stones – Reflects deep despair and a desire to escape emotional pain.

19. “I Want To Hold Your Hand” by The Beatles – While it’s primarily a love song, it also speaks to the need for connection and reassurance when one is feeling down.

20. “She’s Lost Control” by Joy Division – This post-punk track delves into the loss of control due to mental health challenges, influenced by the lead singer Ian Curtis’s personal struggles.

21. “Numb” by Linkin Park – One of Linkin Park’s most iconic tracks, it describes feelings of not meeting expectations and not being good enough.

22. “Crawling” by Linkin Park – This song deals with feelings of insecurity and the emotional wounds that aren’t always visible from the outside.

23. “Heavy” by Linkin Park ft. Kiiara – Discusses the weight of mental health struggles and the difficulty of breaking free from negative thought patterns.

24. “Somewhere I Belong” by Linkin Park – Touches on the desire to find a place or state of mind where one feels accepted and at peace.

25. “People Are Strange” by The Doors – Addresses feelings of alienation and being an outsider.

26. “Isolation” by John Lennon – A candid look at feelings of vulnerability and loneliness.

Caution: Be Aware of How a Song Makes You Feel

While songs about mental health can be beneficial, always remember that personal reactions to music can vary; what’s comforting to one person might be triggering to another. It’s essential to find what resonates positively with you and to seek professional support when needed.

If you are struggling with mental health issues and don’t know where to turn, these resources are a good place to start.

Here are a few crisis hotlines you can contact, depending on your location.

1. The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline (U.S.) Formerly known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline offers 24/7 call, text and chat access to trained crisis counselors who can help people experiencing suicidal, substance use, and/or mental health crisis, or any other kind of emotional distress. People can also dial 988 if they are worried about a loved one who may need crisis support.

2. Other country-specific crisis hotlines Many countries have their own mental health helplines that provide immediate support during a crisis. In the UK, there is Samaritans (116 123) and, in Australia, Lifeline Australia (13 11 14) is available to help. In Canada, Talk Suicide Canada (1-833-456-4566) provides support to residents.

It’s essential to find and save the appropriate crisis hotline number for your country to access immediate aid when needed, whether it’s for you or someone you love.

Related Articles